What Might I Like My Kids to Learn about Life?: In Search of “Tradition”

  • Anthony McCann University of Ulster


This personal exploration of “tradition” started after my father died, an event which sparked a series of inner conversations about being a son, being a parent, and the learning that happens over generations. What do I mean by “tradition”? What kinds of conversations would I like the term to open up for me? If I were to consider it as a signpost, what conversations, communities, and contexts might it point to? I work to clarify what “tradition” can mean for me, outlining a wish-list of the aspects I would like my own understanding of “tradition” to encompass. I highlight two common approaches to “tradition” I would like to steer away from: “tradition” as prescriptive-invariance, and “tradition” as resource management. I offer a personal-is-political account of “tradition” to open up analytic opportunities, as I seek to make more appropriate sense of learnings, relationships, and death.
How to Cite
MCCANN, Anthony. What Might I Like My Kids to Learn about Life?: In Search of “Tradition”. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 75-92, mar. 2011. ISSN 2228-0987. Available at: <http://jef.ee/index.php/journal/article/view/7>. Date accessed: 26 mar. 2023.


tradition; learning; family; responsibility; death